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Restaurant Review Memphis: Felicia Suzanne Chef’s Table

Last night we had a magical, magical dinner. It was so magical you can only double it . Magical magical. That’s how awesome it was.
A friend of my husbands invited one of us to dinner with his step dad and a few other friends. They had won a dinner for 6 at a great local restaurant at an auction and there was only one seat open. Bryan talked to the host and to the restaurant and they agreed to allow me and we’d pay my own way.  I figured it’d be a multi-course meal, but didn’t really have many preconceived notions. Mainly I was trying not to think of it at all because I was worried that since we would be eating with strangers it might be really awkward and I tend to play these things up in my head which in the end forces it to be awkward because I’m awkward in response to foreseeing it being awkward. Self-fulfilling prophesy if there ever was one.
Anyways, back to the story. Bryan and I arrived a few minutes early and grabbed drinks at the bar. We’ve been to this restaurant several times without reservations and can never get a table so we’re always forced to sit at the bar and look longingly at the people who were smart enough to plan their dinners in advance. We also have a friend that works the bar, so there’s that too. And given our recent visits we’ve made friends with the main bartender as well. I don’t like to brag, but he makes some fantastic drinks. One time he made me this drink with gin and a real fig in it. It was amazing.  I digress again.
Bryan’s running buddy shows up first and we chat with him as the other members of our dining party arrive. Once everyone is there we are taken to our table. We pass all the other tables and they take us through the double doors. The double doors to the kitchen, ya’ll!!!! THE KITCHEN!
Being a foodie I’ve known this is a thing. For chef’s to have special seatings in the kitchen. But never ever did I think I’d be such a lucky girl to be able to do that. I think my jaw dropped and I just froze. Mainly to prevent myself from jumping up and down and squealing like a little girl…. and also I didn’t want to spill my cocktail. That would be wasteful. After a mintue and the shock wore off I sat down where I could see what was happening in the kitchen.
Felicia, the owner and chef, greeted us and asked if we had an allergies or food preferences. There was one vegan at the table, so he got his own special thing. If I had felt more comfortable with the dinner party I would have piped up and asked her to get really creative or something. But I didn’t. I just smiled and knew that I was in for a treat regardless.
After seven courses I can’t tell you specifics of what all we ate. There was a little tart, a squash and apple soup with crab meat, a salad, a duck and mushroom crepe with some tasty tomato jam, a fish course served over hoppin john (she mixed black eyed peas and lady peas and I might have wanted to ask for seconds), a beef course with a really tasty sauce, and then for dessert she brought us three different things to try and share. Sigh… incredible food.
But the thing that struck me as special was the guests. We only knew the one friend going in to the meal. I was super nervous that it was going to be awkward not knowing everyone. It wasn’t. We both really enjoyed talking and getting to know everyone.  I had one of those epiphanies that this was what grown up life was supposed to be like. This is how we were supposed to live. Sharing meals with people and getting to know each other.
One of my goals for next year is to host more gatherings. When we first bought our house four years ago we were great about having people over pretty regularly, but we’ve slacked off in the last year or so. Last night spurred me on to make it more of a priority to bring people together and share food and drink.

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